Oil refinery south of Iran's capital Tehran. File photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Global markets have been spooked by the week on week fall in the price of oil caused by several ongoing trade disputes, slow economic growth eating into demand, and pending US sanctions on Iran.
United States benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed at $65.91 on Friday, showing declines in crude oil for a seventh consecutive week, while global benchmark Brent Crude closed at $71.83 per barrel, dropping for a third week in a row, as reported by Reuters on Friday.
Brent Crude fell 1.4 percent, while WTI fell by 2.6 percent for the week.
Trade tensions between the US and China are contributing to a waning market and sinking fuel consumption.
“One of the biggest concerns out there is that China’s demand numbers are coming down if China’s GDP growth is slowing,” Tariq Zahir, a managing member for Tyche Capital in New York, told Reuters.
The market has also been driven down due to fears over new US sanctions on Iran – OPEC’s third largest oil producing country after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. US President Donald Trump is pressuring countries to cut all Iranian oil imports from November onward.
“Iranian crude exports were still near 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in July and will likely begin to fall dramatically in August with financial sanctions taking effect,” read a statement by US investment bank, Jefferies.
“With oil export sanctions now three months out, we expect exports to fall by more than 500,000 bpd by the end of 3Q.”
Saudi Arabia and other oil producing nations are increasing output to offset any potential losses from Iran as the November deadline nears.